Originally published at: http://gomorragazette.com/2016/06/11/pinkerton-outlaw-event-and-a-year-long-journey-through-gomorra/
by Stephen Mahoney
Before I recount my experience at the Kansas City Pinkerton (6/4/16) Outlaw series event, I’d like to share what led up to me facing a Den of Thieves guarded by a Turtle. Let’s go back in time almost exactly a year. Last year found me confronting personal and professional challenges. But I am here to tell you instead about an ongoing bright spot. On June 2nd of 2015 I played my first game of Doomtown: Reloaded. I owned some of the classic cards from my teens when I was trying out games other than Magic, but it didn’t stick. All my money still funneled into MtG while my Deadlands: Doomtown cards gathered dust despite my love for the theme. When I saw Quinns’ review on Shut Up & Sit Down I knew it was time for me to make a return trip to Gomorra. I picked up a base set and tried my best to put together a deck that wasn’t terrible and posted on Facebook that I was looking for people to play with. I was in luck. There were a small group that played at my FLGS and I joined them on a warm Tuesday afternoon.
In my first ever game of Reloaded, I faced a 4th Ring deck. I won by complete chance by pulling a legal five of a kind on a second turn shootout in town square and then dropping three deeds. It was cheap, but it hooked me. I can still feel the tension and terror of drawing that shootout hand, followed by relief as that joker smiled at me. Also, there was the disbelief of not completely ruining myself in my first game. My second game was against Sloane agro and things went slightly worse. They went a lot worse. They went as bad as bad can get. I got wrecked turn one by a rank 11 shootout hand using Barton and a cheatin’ five of a kind. I didn’t have a resolution and over-committed my dudes. The excitement of the shootout was the same. It still hasn’t changed. This was love at first fight.
Since then I have been a regular at our league at Mayhem in Des Moines where we play every week for OP kit prizes. I’ve made new friends, which is miraculous for a person in their 30s. I went to my first sheriff event in September and didn’t completely suck despite an unhealthy commitment to Law Dogs. I made a road trip with my friends last weekend and spent a ridiculous amount of time shuffling cards. I sat across from different people, each with a smile on their face reflecting the happiness that the game has brought me. Now on to what went down in Kansas City.
There were 17 participants including myself, and we did four rounds of Swiss. My team mates and I wore matching shirts because we are some rad dudes. One brought his Morgan dudes and deeds and the other 108 home invasion. I had a build of Blessed Deputies that I have been refining for months, because I don’t know when to give up on something. I start Tommy, Phil, Jake, Andrew, and Rev. Perry who I generally give the Deputy keyword until I can get Erik Samson out. Full disclosure on what you are about to read: being in a tournament is like being in a car accident. You’re glad to survive, but the details get really muddied along the way.
Round one I faced another Abram’s deck with a similar posse except that his started sister Mary. Unfortunately for him, I hit some great miracles in my opening hand gave the Reverend a Lay on Hands. This made my dudes nearly un-killable and I imagine is incredibly frustrating. There were a couple shootouts early on and I took out Sister Mary after she went into a fight solo. This is really the main reason I stopped starting her; to best use her ability she can’t have bullet fodder with her. This was key in allowing me to take enough deeds to have winning control at sundown around day three since all my dudes now had influence (including Miracles attached to Perry and Andrew) at the end of the day.
Round two I played against a Warden’s Blockade deck piloted by Chris who went on to win the event. I had never run up against a blockade style deck and I allowed him to build up steam with card draws early on that really set me behind. Shootouts saw me getting pistol whipped home, but I was able to keep my dudes decently propped up with miracles. This didn’t stop the flood of dudes from filling town square and kept me from taking any deeds on his side of the street. The game went to time and I was in the red in both control and influence. I was really pleased with how interactive this game was despite the loss and I moved on to game three one and one.
The next game was played against one of the most unique and interesting builds I’ve ever seen. There were lots of conditions getting thrown around onto my dudes that increased upkeep and limited mobility. Day one he pulled a California Tax Office with ‘Ol Howard and then tossed a tummy twister on it. I promptly got out Steven Wiles to soak up the Twister. I had some miracles in my hand and I put a Lay on Hands on Perry and gave Andrew a Holy Roller, so I was comfortable with my influence for the end of the first day. Turn two I let go of my 7 upkeep Steven, but my opponent decided that some Backroom Deals were in order and took ownership. Luckily there was a California Tax Office in play that I grabbed and used to get Steven off the board. Then my dudes started getting sick. Two Lost to the Plagues on Rev Perry and a Phantasm that moved Tommy onto a Tummy Twister. Luckily I had decent levels of production in play that let me keep Tommy around. Sword of the Spirit rescued me from his Puppet t the exact right moment. I cannot overstate how clutch the Sword was in this matchup. This game was close, but the shootouts went in my favor with me hitting a new record of 11 stud in a shootout drawing 16 cards. I ended up being able to take out enough dudes and boot the rest home with Flight of the Lepus and I took my second win.
The fourth game saw the one matchup I dreaded the most: Nate with his 108 deck. He informed me immediately that this game would determine who made the final cut. Great, no pressure. We’ve played this matchup many times in the past as these were our go-to decks. Based on past results, I had a feeling that the match would go to time. We both played carefully and took our time positioning dudes. There were tense shootouts and he got his Legendary Holster on Bai Yang, which was always the start of his main play strategy. Holster up Bai Yang, then Rabbit into shootouts with him and ace any one dude. Lay on hands, though, had other ideas. Every time he went to ace a dude they only ended up heading home booted. I did get hit with a bottom dealin’ in a shootout discarded Phil and sacrificed El Grajo, but when time was called I ended up in the right positioning to have winning control and influence. I know I was lucky and if that game had continued I don’t know how it would have played out, but I was glad that lady luck had shined on me.
Through four rounds, I had played against some of the most diverse and interesting deck builds I had ever seen, piloted by players who are enthusiastic and committed to the game and its community. At this point, the prizes started rolling out. This was a welcome break after four tension-filled rounds. The prize support was abundant. The custom deck boxes that Don made for the tops of faction were beautiful. Nate and I each got one, so I didn’t feel as bad winning in the prior round due to time. Then there was a sudden sinking feeling; this wasn’t over. I had to keep going and try my best to win. If not winning, at least go out trying. I’m an anxious person normally, but this was off the charts. I did some deep breathing and braced myself for semi-finals.
The finals were against a Den deck that featured Turtle’s Guard to mitigate losses. This was best two out of three and game one did not go my way at all. No cheatin’ resolutions in my opening hand and one miracle meant a very slow start. There were shootouts that went south day one or two and I had to scoop. I was relieved to get another bite at the apple. Game two saw a much stronger start. Lay on Hands and Jael’s Guile both were on the board, though the latter of the two elicited a Mugging that I wasn’t in a position to oppose. We both had a decent setup and I finally won a town square shootout, but Takin’ Ya With Me caught me completely off guard. I ended up losing a dude that I needed to maintain influence versus his control. I ended up losing in game two, as well, but I felt better than the first game and was happy that I had done so well.
So that was it: a major tournament on almost exactly the first anniversary of rediscovering the game and I didn’t wash out. Heck, I actually did pretty well. Although how much of that was luck and how much was skill remains debatable. The people, though, made the day for me. Everyone that attended took the game seriously and wanted to play well. There were so many laughs. There were so many great conversations. There were so many great games. In the next few months we will see sheriff events and the North American M arshal coming up and I can’t help but feel excited for it all. I can’t help but feel excited for all the new saddle bags. I can’t help but feel excited to keep playing.